Yogis having fun in the recent East coast snow storm. Photos taken in New York City & DC...
16 December 2009
I am closing in on my first month in DC and it has been quite an adventure. This past weekend I was invited to teach meditation and pranayama at a local rape crisis center for a Day of Healing event. It was an opportunity for survivors to receive energy work and alternative healing treatment. Among those providing therapeutic services were an acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine specialist, a reiki master and massage therapist. I met an amazing group of strong, beautiful women who were truly dedicated to a path of rehabilitation and reclamation.
After reveling in the blessing and honor of participating in the weekend’s events, I began to reflect on the power of the collective female force. I started thinking about Shakti – that mysterious and powerful divine feminine energy. While I was accustomed to teaching yoga and meditation to classes of students that were largely female, this experience was quite different. On this occasion I was guiding a group of female practitioners who were coming together with the unified intention of healing from serious emotional and physical trauma. As a teacher, it is an intimate and intense task to take on. Initially, I was unsure of my abilities to conduct a meditation in that type of setting. Looking back on that auspicious day, I can confidently state that it was the first time in my years of teaching where I felt a deep and profound energy in the room. It was piercing, yet warm and despite the pain and hardship that I know these women have encountered, there was an immediate embrace and surrender. Those aren’t reactions that come so freely or instantly when teaching a yoga class in a studio. There is quite a bit of resistance and lack of concentration from many students when they come to the mat for the first time or even from seasoned students who either become complacent in their practice or let their egos creep in (we all know it happens…I’m guilty of it).
Within the feminine energy there are opposing forces: Shakti is the creator, associated with goodness and beauty while Kali is the destroyer, who brings torment and turmoil. When we are in balance and reverence of Lady Shakti, she will nourish us with light and abundance. I recently read an article in a spiritual publication that said we are currently in a dark age – a state of Kali Yuga. Our community is experiencing war, recession, poverty, and hardship. In order for the dark cloud to pass, we must regain devotion in Shakti and pray that her energy will once again return to bless us with spiritual and economic wealth. I am certain this past weekend Shakti was alive and kicking at the Day of Healing. I am hopeful that the work we all did generated more peace and compassion in the world…presumably allowing more Shakti to flourish around us.
Interestingly enough, the coordinator of the event kept referring to those of us offering services as healers…...Huh? Me? A “healer”? No way. I knew that yoga could bring healing but I most definitely never considered myself a healer…but then again it was called a “Day of Healing.” I now have a new perspective to help me evolve in my path of teaching, learning and growing. I am thankful for that.
The weekend was full of many wonderful gifts...Shakti blessings. I was able to bring healing to other women and in turn nourish my own spirit. I also had a last minute opportunity to attend a workshop with ashtangi extraordinaire Kino McGregor from
, something which my
hips and hamstrings were grateful for. My forever fabulous roommate presented
me with a beautiful, vintage brass bracelet with Buddha engravings, a lovely
reminder of the omnipresent divine. We ended the weekend’s festivities by
welcoming the holiday season with good food, great company, and lots of
laughter. Miami Life